THE number of job vacancies in the Worcester area now exceeds the amount of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, new figures show.

A total of 1,870 city residents took home the government benefit in September, continuing a trend which has seen the number fall each month since February this year.

But according to the goverment’s own website there are currently 1,903 available jobs within a five mile radius of the city.

Just last week, however, your Worcester News reported that a company looking to fill 50 vacancies at an unnamed Worcester food factory received no applications. 

A recruitment boss, meanwhile, says he hasn’t seen any proof people don’t want to take up positions.

“In our experience the people that tend to come through the door to see us are those that want to work,” said Ben Mannion, strategic development director with Hewett Recruitment, based on Foregate Street in Worcester.

“It’s not just a case of fixing them up with a job but finding one that is right for them.

“I don’t think we ever get people who say ‘I’m not doing that’.”
He said the continued fall in jobseeker numbers reflects an increase in temporary appointments and a strong growth in permanent positions.

The jobless figures for September remain at its lowest level in Worcester since December 2008.

The current number means the city remains below the national average for claimants with 2.8 per cent of the working population claiming the allowance compared with 3.2 per cent nationally.

Of the Worcester figure, 1,255 are men and 615 women. The number is down by 172 on August’s figure. 

Nationally, unemployment fell by 18,000 last month to 2.49 million.

As the figures were released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday (Wednesday), the government launched the Claimant Commitment which it says marks the start of a “redefinition of the relationship between the welfare state and claimants”.

“In return for state support, we expect claimants to do all they can to meet their responsibilities to return to work,” said Employment Minister Esther McVey.

“Work coaches and jobseekers will agree regular specific tasks and training opportunities and the penalties claimants could face for failing to meet their responsibilities to get into work will be clearly spelt out.”

Those penalties could include the loss of benefits.

• Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable to adults who are available for and actively seeking work. Rates start at £56.80 per week.